Carrier Files Suit to Protect Customer Records; Calls for Prompt Action to Punish Online Brokers and Privacy Predators
Bellevue, Wash. — Jan. 23, 2006
In an effort to restrain the unlawful activities of entities that attempt to fraudulently obtain confidential customer information, T-Mobile USA, Inc. is bringing legal action against online data brokers the company believes are involved in illegitimately obtaining and selling call records. Acting under Washington State criminal profiteering laws, T-Mobile today filed suit in King County, Wash., Superior Court seeking an injunction to stop Locatecell.com, as well as related companies and individuals, from engaging in such illegal behavior. T-Mobile also is prepared to take similar legal action against other believed violators.
"To further safeguard the privacy of our customers, T-Mobile is taking action to prosecute these online data brokers to the fullest extent permitted by the law," said Dave Miller, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, T-Mobile USA. "For the protection of all wireless customers, their illegal actions must be stopped."
T-Mobile also endorses the need for federal legislation making it a crime for anyone to obtain, sell or distribute, through fraudulent means, the private calling records of mobile phone customers.
"T-Mobile supports adoption of federal legislation making it clear that fraudulent activities by third parties to obtain, sell, or distribute call records is a crime," said Tom Sugrue, T-Mobile's Vice President of Government Affairs. "Legislation should address the deplorable and deceptive actions of these third-party brokers who illegitimately obtain and sell call records without the knowledge or consent of wireless customers. We applaud the FCC's recent citations against brokers that have defied its subpoenas."
Legislation introduced by Sens. Schumer, Specter and Nelson and co-sponsored by Sens. Burns and Reid, takes particular aim at these perpetrators, defined as anyone who sells or obtains confidential customer information through deception or unauthorized access to a telephone company's data. T-Mobile commends this bipartisan group of Senators for targeting privacy predators such as online brokers in an effort to bolster protections for consumers. T-Mobile looks forward to working with members of Congress to resolve this important privacy concern.
As a result of data uncovered during a continuing, thorough internal investigation, T-Mobile had issued numerous cease and desist letters against companies that were believed to have illegally obtained and sold phone-calling records of some of its customers.
T-Mobile reiterates that it is important for customers to continue to take steps to protect their accounts by utilizing passwords. T-Mobile urges all users of mobile phone services to take the following password protection steps:
- Create separate passwords for voicemail, online access, and for use when calling customer care about your billing account.
- Set complex passwords using both numbers and letters where appropriate.
- Avoid common passwords such as birth dates, family or pet names and street addresses.
- Change your passwords at least every 60 days.
- Memorize your passwords.
- Don't share passwords with anyone.
"T-Mobile takes customer privacy seriously. Customer protection is a primary concern. We have invested millions of dollars to help protect customer information, and we continue to further reinforce our systems. Our customer phone records are not for sale," said Sugrue. "We encourage Congress and the FCC to act swiftly to bring the illegal activity of online data brokers to an end."
T-Mobile USA Media Relations
About T-Mobile USA, Inc.
Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG. By the end of the first quarter of 2010, approximately 150 million mobile customers were served by the mobile communication segments of the Deutsche Telekom group - 33.7 million by T-Mobile USA - all via a common technology platform based on GSM and UMTS, the world's most widely used digital wireless standards. T-Mobile USA's innovative wireless products and services help empower people to connect to those who matter most. Multiple independent research studies continue to rank T-Mobile among the highest in numerous regions throughout the U.S. in wireless customer care and call quality. For more information, please visit http://www.T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG.